I can not say enough good things about this young adult novel by Carrie Ryan. My daughter handed the book to me one day and said, "You have to read this book." Out of love for my darling girl, I cracked it open. I was spellbound from that point on to the very end. It was well written with enough suspense to keep me on the edge of my seat. I could not put it down. It was pretty intense. The description on the cover does not do it justice. Out of fear of giving anything away, I'm just going to paste the cover synopsis here.
"In Mary's world, there are simple truths.
The Sisterhood always knows best.
The Guardians will protect and serve.
The Unconsecrated will never relent.
And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village. The fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth.
But slowly, Mary's truths are failing her. She's learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power. And, when the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness.
Now she must choose between her village and her future, between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded by so much death?"
If you really want a good feel for the book, watch the book preview video (a relatively new way to promote books to young adults):
My sheepish, toe-shuffling confession: I was very angry after reading this book. It ended on the edge of a VERY large cliff. I railed against the author (unbeknownst to her), I may have gone as far as calling her a sociopath for leaving me high and dry with no answers. "How could she??" I felt stranded and so alone. So I did what any good and decent person would do in such a case, I told my friends to read the book so I could have company.
THEN! I found the 2nd book. I almost didn't even read it. It's labeled as a "companion" and that lead me to think it wasn't truly a sequel. I skimmed through the first few pages and didn't see any characters I recognized. I thought, "What's the use? I can't take any more unanswered questions!" I ran out of books to read when I saw this one still sitting on my night stand. Reluctantly, I cracked it open.
The Dead Tossed Waves
And it was even BETTER than the first book.
"Gabry lives a quiet life, secure in her town next to the sea and behind the Barrier. She's content to let her friends dream of the Dark City up the coast while she watches from the top of her lighthouse. Home is all she's ever known, and all she needs for happiness.
But life after the Return is never safe, and there are threats even the Barrier can't hold back.
Gabry's mother thought she left her secrets behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth, but like the dead in their world, secrets don't stay buried. And now, Gabry's world is crumbling.
One night beyond the Barrier...
One boy Gabry's known forever and one veiled in mystery...
One reckless moment, and half of Gabry's generation is dead, the other half imprisoned.
Gabry knows only one thing: if she is to have any hope of a future, she must face the forest of her mother's past."
I just found out there is a 3rd book available. I can not wait to get my hands on it. Rumor has it, there will be a movie in the near future. IMDB has a teeny bit of info on it.
Carrie Ryan is a North Carolina gal. She graduated from Duke University (right up the road from most of our ZAS members). She was practically our neighbor at some point. I'm always eager to support North Carolina authors and artists. Carrie Ryan has a great voice. She knows how to keep her audience coming back for more.